Industrial Control Engineering
As some of you might know, I have been extensively involved with Industrial Manufacturing Controls since I started working at P&G. One of the main platforms I’ve had to learn and utilize is the RSLogix 5000 from Rockwell Automation. It has been a very exciting experience and a never ending learning process.
I’ve never been exposed to Ladder Logic prior to 2014. My only training was a 4 day fundamentals class, after which I was pushed straight into the field. I must admit that the biggest challenge by far was navigating the platform. Although Rockwell makes it simple to cross reference tags, it isn’t always obvious where they are being passed inside the particular program. Despite the above mentioned challenge, I quickly learned my way around the programs. I started with smaller projects which required me to reapply a certain piece of code to different areas or manufacturing lines. The following projects had me install and configure sensors, devices and network protocols (ControlNet, DeviceNet and Ethernet/IP). The last piece of the puzzle came in at a later date: Motion Control.
Controlling a servo is not a difficult task. However, controlling over 100 servos in a coordinated fashion while they are being geared to several virtual axis spread across multiple PLCs is a challenge. My latest projects all had some sort of motion control in them. Every servo needed to be programmed and coordinated with the rest of the line; a very exciting challenge!
Working with PLCs is very exciting and rewarding. You are an electrical “artist” which gets to create machines and see them run shortly after. You are only limited by your imagination once you have mastered the programming side.